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WHERE EVIL WAITS
by Kate Brady

Genre: General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense

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It was an odd place to find Assistant District Attorney Kara Chandler, at an odd time: a squalid alley in the armpit of Atlanta, nearly midnight. Yet there she was, looking nothing like Luke Varon had expected. The heels were gone, her normally businesslike bun now falling in gold waves over her shoulders. In place of the usual classic suit, she wore jeans and a short-sleeved blouse, and instead of a fashionable purse, a shapeless macramé sack hung over one shoulder with her right hand buried deep inside.

Gun.

“Mr. Varón?”

Her voice stroked the night and every fiber of Luke’s body tightened. Damn, he shouldn’t be here. “You called?” Luke asked.

“Yes,” she said, but beneath the steel nerves, Luke caught a quaver in her voice. “I have a proposition for you.”

Luke feigned delight. “Now, what could a faithful public servant like you want with a common criminal like me?”

“This has nothing to do with the DA’s office. It’s personal.”

“Even better,” he said, and let his gaze run down her figure and back again.

“I want to hire you,” she said, and he almost blinked. He caught himself and arched a dark brow instead.

“I’m not a stockbroker or private chef, Ms. Chandler.”

“I know what you are. You’re a drug cartel hit man, an arsonist and cold-blooded killer. So this job should be right up your alley. I want you to blow up a boat and make sure its owners die in the fire.”

Luke was flabbergasted. Christ.

“I’ll pay you,” she said. “I want it done tonight, as soon as possible…”

“Why me?” he asked.

She stopped, startled. “Because you can get away with it. You proved that when you walked out of court a month ago. You can get away with anything.”

“More flattery,” he said. “But you must know dozens of good criminals.”

Her gaze might have melted steel. “Besides you, the criminals I know are behind bars.”

“Ah, yes,” Luke said, letting the hint of a smile show. “You aren’t accustomed to a checkmark in the loss column. I’m sorry I tarnished your record.”

She took a step toward him. “It wasn’t a loss, it was a mistrial. And you were guilty. You know it and I know it. You should be in prison for the rest of your life.”

“Lucky for you I’m not. Who would you call to commit your felonies?”

She was playing a game. Luke didn’t like games when he didn’t know the rules. Warning bells went off. Walk away.

He tried not to wonder what — besides a set-up — would drive a woman of the law to such extremes as to try to hire a hit.

That thought was more than Luke could ignore. “Ms. Chandler,” he said, “you never told me: Whose boat and whose death?”

She looked him straight in the eyes. “Mine.”